Over the past decade, criminal justice data shows that on average 10,000 misdemeanor marijuana cases are prosecuted annually by the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.i These cases, on any given day, comprise over 10% of the misdemeanor court dockets in the Harris County Criminal Courts at Law.ii The routine processing of these cases impact the budgets of Harris County’s 160+ law enforcement agencies, three crime labs, and the Harris County jail in significant ways.
Calculated generally, the following breakouts illustrate current annual costs:
Marijuana program participants given final opportunity to make things right
Hurricane Harvey disrupted countless lives, but prosecutors have a warning for those who have failed to complete a class required to avoid being charged with a crime over small amounts of marijuana.
They have until this coming March 1 to complete a program, or warrants will be filed for their arrests, making them subject to prosecution, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said Thursday.
“There comes a time when everyone must be held accountable,” Ogg said. “That time is now, as the Houston region has largely recovered from a storm of historic proportions.”
The Harris County District Attorney’ s Office, in its commitment to keeping the public safe, spending tax payer money responsibly and providing equal justice for all, is instituting a new policy affecting the prosecution of thousands of misdemeanor marijuana cases.
The office will use its Texas Legislature-mandated discretion to divert offenders in possession of small amounts of marijuana starting March 1.
The Misdemeanor Marijuana Diversion Program was made public Thursday by District Attorney Kim Ogg, who was joined at a news conference by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, Pct. 1 Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis and other officials.